Though Florence's shrieking winds diminished from hurricane force as it came ashore, forecasters said the sheer size of the 350-mile-wide storm and its painfully slow progress across North and SC in the coming days could leave much of the region under water.
In Pender County, officials said that a woman died of a heart attack Friday morning as emergency crews tried to reach her; they were delayed because of downed trees and debris in the road.
With rivers rising towards record levels, thousands of people were ordered to evacuate for fear the next few days could bring the most destructive round of flooding in North Carolina history.
And on Saturday evening, Duke Energy said heavy rains caused a slope to collapse at a coal ash landfill at a closed power station outside Wilmington, North Carolina.
Flood waters lap at a high water warning sign that was partially pushed over by Hurricane Florence on Oak Island, North Carolina, US on Saturday.
In New Bern, about 90 miles northeast of Wilmington at the confluence of two rivers, Florence overwhelmed the town of 30,000 and left the downtown area under water.
Emergency management officials and nonprofit groups aren't waiting for Florence's rains to end or floodwaters to recede before starting to help people recover from the storm.
Picture the entire state of Texas covered with roughly 4 inches (10 centimeters) of water: that's Florence's rainfall forecast over a week.
Its winds were down to 45 miles per hour.
Officials warned people to heed mandatory evacuations in areas were rivers are expected to swell because of rain that just will not stop.
Super Typhoon Forecast to Hit Philippines Saturday
More than 15,000 people had been evacuated in northern provinces by Friday afternoon, the Office of Civil Defence said. Tropical Storm Barijat is moving toward southern China , while Tropical Storm Olivia hit Hawaii with 45-mph winds.
By tomorrow afternoon, the center of Florence is expected to be across western SC. In South Carolina, some 36,000 customers are without power.
As of noon, Swansboro, North Carolina, had almost 31 inches of rain, Emerald Isle had over 23, and Wilmington and Goldsboro had about a foot.
Florence was one of two major storms threatening millions of people on opposite sides of the world.
A man sits on a park bench in a flooded park as the Cape Fear River rises above its usual height in Wilmington, North Carolina, on September 15, 2018.
SC authorities said law enforcement officers were guarding against looting in evacuated areas, while Wilmington set a curfew on Saturday evening in response to looting in one area. So it's 'time to go out and have a drink'.
The program was used in North Carolina after Hurricane Matthew in October 2016.
Storm surges - the bulge of ocean water pushed ashore by the hurricane - were as high as 10 feet (3 meters).
Power outages are widespread, affecting over 740,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and 163,000 in SC.
- A husband and wife died in a Fayetteville, North Carolina house fire on Friday, the state's Office of the Chief Medical Examiner says.
National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said radar and rain gauges indicated some areas got as much as 2½ feet of rain, which he called "absolutely staggering".
"WE ARE COMING TO GET YOU", the city tweeted during the height of the storm.